What Does .COM Stand For?

If you’re a consumer, you’ll see a .COM address multiple times per day. If you’re a domain investor, you’ll likely see .COM names hundreds or perhaps thousands of times per day. 

The .COM extension is synonymous with the Internet as a whole and has been the world’s most popular TLD since its inception.

On March 15th 1985, the first ever .COM was registered and since then, the .COM has gone on to dominate the digital landscape and by Q3 of 2020 there were 150.3 million .COM names registered. Of course, .COM domains can be sold for significant amounts of money, too, with the largest publicly-disclosed sale to date being Voice.com at $30 million.

 

What does .COM mean? 

In short, .COM was meant to initially mean “commercial,” created to represent the commercial intent of a website. In the planning phase, therefore, the creators of .COM hoped that visiting a site such as Amazon.com would signify to the user that this is a commercial website.

Jack Haverty, an Internet pioneer, had a different view, believing that .COM derived from “company” rather than “commercial.”

In hindsight, it’s easy to attribute the “commercial” meaning to the .COM suffix, but in 1985 when the Internet was a tool used predominantly for military communication and government contract work, perhaps .COM was created in order for the userbase to identify companies as opposed to government entities.

Interestingly, .GOV was introduced on January 1st, 1985, the same day as the .COM extension. With .GOV intended for use by government entities, perhaps the identifier or “company” for .COM is correct.

In the thirty-six years since the .COM extension was introduced, it has changed the world. This inanimate string of characters has led to a global cultural shift in how we communicate. Long live .COM.

About James Iles

James Iles is a domain name industry writer and publisher of JamesNames.com. You can contact me here, or follow me on Twitter @jamesiles.

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